Meet Our Members: Sarah Lister

SCG member Sarah Lister recently started a newsletter that shares career change stories from Sheffield and beyond, and documents her career coaching sessions on foot in the Peak District.

Photo by Sam Devito

Why I started writing a newsletter

I’d been thinking about starting a newsletter for a long time, but I didn’t rush into it because I wanted to put some thought into it and make sure that I had time to spend creating it. I talk about my career coaching work on Instagram and Twitter, but I think that only shows a taster of what I do and why. By starting a newsletter I think that I can connect with people who are interested in the topics in a better way, allowing for more depth. I want to offer greater value to the people who don’t just want to scroll past the social media posts.

How I aim to make it unique

I don’t want it to be one of those newsletters that remains unopened in busy email inboxes. I want it to be an email that people look forward to receiving, opening and interacting with. Rather than going for click bait, I am working towards creating valuable content with an approach that encourages people to get involved by answering questions, joining discussions, contributing stories or career change interviews, and by asking readers to make suggestions to make it better. 

Each newsletter starts with a coaching question, which aims to get people thinking at the very beginning. Rather than offering up advice or tips, I ask the reader to explore their thoughts and to write them down or share them. Straight away the newsletter becomes an interaction and promotes curiosity of thought.

All of the newsletter content comes from my own work and the interviews that I share through my podcast and blog. Instead of sending people a series of links, I explain why I have interviewed my guest and how we met, and what subjects are covered. I really enjoy this personal approach because it tells readers the purpose behind my actions, and also reminds me why my work is important to me. 

In each issue I share a coaching walk session of the week, where I showcase the places that I take people during my coaching sessions. It’s an opportunity for subscribers to get some insight on what they would experience or see during a session with me. It’s a great opportunity for me to experiment with my photography and creativity, as I always include a different photo. I much prefer using my own pictures rather than stock images.

Photo by Sam Devito

Who I want to reach

I always bear this in mind when I start writing my newsletter. I know that it isn’t for everyone, so I think about who I am talking to when I write it. I reflect back on the time that I so wanted a career change but I didn’t know where to start with it and it felt overwhelming to even think about it. 

I want to reach people who are at the beginning stages of thinking about a career change but who don’t know where to begin – whether that’s because they don’t know what they want to do, they are worried about making a big change after years of doing the same work, or because they are fearful of making the wrong move and regretting it. And instead of saying – here’s some advice you should do this – I ask questions and get really curious about why they want a change, how they want to make an impact through their work, and what’s stopping them.

Where the inspiration came from

I decided to create my newsletter using Substack after subscribing and reading Unslush newsletter by fellow SCG member Iain Broome. I really enjoy the way that he puts his content together, makes it interactive and user friendly. I found his approach fresh and fun, which inspired me to get on with creating my own newsletter. 

You can take a peek at my newsletter and subscribe or share it with someone who keeps talking about a career change. If you have any questions or comments please send them to [email protected] My podcast is About The Adventure and if you are interested in sharing your career change story please get in touch to be featured on there, or as a blog post if you prefer. I recently interviewed fellow Guild member Doug Banks about his work as a professional photographer.